Tess of the d'Urbervilles Topic Tracking: Coincidence
Coincidence 1: Coincidence plays a large part in the construction of the novel because it is how the characters and their actions are woven together. At this early part of the novel, we meet Angel Clare, the man that Tess is going to fall in love with and be separated from against her will. This early meeting where he sees her but does not ask her to dance will link them later and foreshadow the separation of their relationship.
Coincidence 2: Joan Durbeyfield expects that her daughter will win Alec d'Urberville's heart, and she's right, but it does not bring them the great fortune she expects. Instead it brings Tess nothing but misery because he seduces her, the violation that makes Angel distance himself from her. Then d'Urberville returns to Tess's life and convinces her to marry him with the argument that Angel will not come back for her. When Tess finally gives in, Angel does come back for her. So she does marry d'Urberville in the end.
Coincidence 3: Tess's near-fight with the Queen of Spades is not the only time she will encounter this character. When Tess is working on a farm at Flintcomb Ash, she meets the Queen of Spades again, and the woman does not recognize her and has no idea how her actions that night led to Tess's personal ruin.
Coincidence 4: The zealot painter talks of Mr. Clare who is preaching in her village, but she does not know then that it is her future father-in-law who speaks there.
Coincidence 5: Talbothays dairy is in the land of her ancestors, with which she has had such bad luck, but she thinks nothing of it as she goes to work there.
Coincidence 6: At Talbothays dairy Tess re-encounters Angel Clare. She recognizes him as the boy who stopped at the dance in Marlott and doesn't dance with her. The pieces are coming together here.
Coincidence 7: This connection to Alec d'Urberville serves to show how small an area Tess lives in and how easy it would be for Angel to discover her secret. The connections between Alec and Tess are many, and this is one of them, although Angel does not realize that.
Coincidence 8: Angel tells Tess about how his father tried to convert some rich hooligan and how his father was chewed out by the man. Tess knows who Angel is talking about even though he never says the name, and such a close connection as having Alec in contact with Angel's father makes Tess sure that she cannot marry Angel without telling him about her past because he is sure to find out.
Coincidence 9: Angel finally recognizes Tess as the young girl at the dance, and that loose end is tied up. She thinks that it might be a bad omen for them, which it is, and with this coincidence, more foreshadowing is presented.
Coincidence 10: A man from Tantridge recognizes Tess and speaks of the rumors about her and Alec, and Angel overhears. Never thinking that it's true, he hits the man for insulting Tess. This reminds her that she has to tell him before they are married because he keeps getting closer and closer to learning the truth about her past.
Coincidence 11: Tess once again encounters the man from Tantridge who recognized her when she was with Angel. She tries to avoid him, but he knows it's her, so she runs away from him because she's afraid of him. She doesn't know that she's on her way to apply for work at his farm.
Coincidence 12: Tess is working at the farm in Flintcomb Ash when she recognizes the Queen of Spades from Tantridge and then she learns that the farmer she works for is also the man who recognized as one of Alec d'Urberville's women.
Coincidence 13: Alec d'Urberville is now a convert and is preaching against sin on the pathway that Tess takes home from her attempt to visit Angel's parents. She once again, through no fault of her own, encounters the reason for her separation from her husband and becomes once again helplessly entangled with Alec d'Urberville.